Enter hairbotox: the latest frizz-taming treatment touted as the less aggressive “miracle” alternative that promises to deeply condition locks and offer the smoothing permanence of, well, botox. It might conjure up terrifying images of patchy hair transplants but needle phobes need fret not, there are none involved in this process.
Smoothing treatments are in demand. Treatwell reports a 46 per cent and 56 per cent rise in searches for hair treatments and hair glossing treatments respectively in the last year, while Ondine Cowley, senior director at Nicky Clarke Mayfair, estimates demand for hair botox specifically has tripled since she began offering the treatment at the salon in 2020.
So what sets it apart from similar treatments? The way it can be “personally tailored” to your hair goals, she says. Cowley discovered hair botox in Brazil while travelling (pre-pandemic) to different countries in search an alternative conditioning treatment to what was on offer here, feeling “unsatisfied” with the results on her hair.
“The Brazilian blow dry can dry hair out, whereas this rejuvenates strands,” she says. “Though the process is quite similar to a keratin treatment, you can’t personally tailor keratin in terms of how long the treatment is left on and so there is less flexibility in the outcome.” With hair botox, she explains, she can adjust the end result by how long its left on for and where it is applied to the hair. It’s also free from formaldehyde, a chemical found in some keratin and smoothing treatments.
Samira Heydari, owner of Fe Hair & Beauty in Connaught Village, has been offering botox blowdry and botox conditioning treatments for more than a decade. “I was introduced to the product while on a trip in Spain and I totally fell in love with how my hair was transformed,” she says.
“The Brazilian blowdry would leave my hair really flat and lifeless, whereas the botox gave my hair lots of shine, and yet it still had lots of body and movement.” Cowley begins each treatment at Nicky Clarke with a phone consultation with her clients to discuss their hair type and how they want their tresses to look and feel post-treatment.
“This includes how much curl or frizz you want taken out of your hair, some prefer to keep some volume and movement while others want the result to be completely sleek, pin-straight hair.” It lasts around three months depending on the texture of your hair. “Most people will choose to do another treatment when their roots grow through,” she adds.
Simply, the process involves a (sulphate-free) shampoo before the treatment mask is applied to wet hair and left on for anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour (again, depending on the desired result). The ingredients in the mask, such as hyaluronic acid, shea butter, seed oil, tannin and pracaxi oil (which derives from a tree found in Brazil), are activated as the mask is rinsed, blow-dried and straightened. Et voilà! Two hours later and you’re left with swishy, silky and revived locks.
Hair botox is ideal for anyone who is addicted to straighteners and looking for a low-maintenance solution. If you wake up with what feels like an untamable mane or if your hair gets instantly frizzy in the rain, for example, consider it your new best friend. Cowley adds that lots of her clients book in for the treatment ahead of a holiday (although those who already have poker-straight hair probably won’t notice much of a difference). “If you want to be able to quickly wash your hair in the morning, give it a rough towel dry and head out the door, this is for you.”
Hair botox with Ondine Cowley at Nicky Clarke Mayfair costs from £380, nickyclarke.com
The botox blowdry at Fe Hair & Beauty costs from £285 fehairandbeauty.com
THREE MORE INNOVATIVE TREATMENTS
Silk Press at Mimi et Mina in Notting Hill
The silk press is an alternative straightening treatment to harsh chemical relaxers for afro-textured hair. It involves a deep cleanse of the hair, followed by a conditioning treatment, blow-dry with a few spritzes of heat protectant and slow and methodical straightening process. Results last around two weeks.
From £70, mimietmina.com
Redken Acidic Bonding at Larry King Notting Hill
“When we use heat styling tools and colour on the hair, it interferes with the composition of proteins and moisture in the hair shaft,” explains colourist Bryony Cairns. After a quick consultation, she blends a cocktail of Redken’s acidic moisture concentrate and acidic protein amino concentrate to power up lacklustre locks.
From £30, larryking.co.uk
Steam Wash at Amazon Salon Spitalfields
If only for the novelty, head to Amazon’s salon — its first in the world. The Steam Wash is a conditioning treatment for coloured hair. It uses a steam pod that heats up to open up the hair shaft so product can penetrate deeper, before cooling with dry steam to seal cuticles. The result? Seriously shiny locks.
From £75, amazon.co.uk